Universität Wien
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142157 SE Gandhi's political philosophy and practice (2022S)

Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 36 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch



Do, 13:00-14:30, SR 6, ab 3.3.


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi hardly wrote any systematic theoretical treatises. The best known of his few writings published in book form is an autobiography. Nevertheless, he has left behind an immense wealth of texts (the "Collected Works" comprise 100 volumes), which document a “quasi-institutionalized permanent reflection of his activities and intentions” (D. Conrad) and which express an astonishingly coherent political philosophy.
The aim of the seminar is to work out the essential elements of this philosophical corpus and to relate them to the corresponding political practice within the framework of the Indian independence movement. A central theme here is the relationship between religion and politics, which clearly distinguishes itself from the European tradition. Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and "truth force" (satyāgraha) refers explicitly to Indian roots (e.g. the term ahiṃsā, the Bhagavad Gītā etc.), but on the other hand it is clear that various Western influences were formative (Ruskin, Tolstoy, Thoreau etc.). Undoubtedly, Gandhi was part of a universal discourse and stood "on an equal footing with Western theory formation on questions of state and violence, politics and religion" (J. Assmann). Gandhi's thinking implies a fundamental cultural critique of Western modernity, a religious-political program of exemplary lifestyle, and a universal ethics that goes far beyond national interests. Through the interpretation of primary texts as well as the reading of secondary texts from various disciplines, these immanent theses and references will be investigated and critically reflected.

• Gandhi‘s biography and autobiography
• Gandhi in South Afric: satyāgraha
• Non-violence and Critique of Civilisation: ahiṃsā and svarāj
• Gandhi as Mahātmā
• Body politics: brahmacarya
• Gandhi‘s double notion of religion
• Anti-secularisms
• Caste and Dalit issues
• Gandhi in popular culture
• Gandhi today

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

The assessment is based on: regular participation, preparation through reading and active participation (30%), a presentation with thesis paper (20%) and a term paper (50%). Teaching material is partly provided on Moodle.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Regular attendance (not more than three missed units).
Grade 4 ("sufficient") in total evaluation.



Alter, Joseph S. 2000. Gandhi's body: sex, diet, and the politics of nationalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Arnold, David. 2001. Gandhi (Profiles in Power). London: Longman.

Brown, Judith. 1977. Gandhi and civil disobedience: the Mahatma in Indian politics, 1928-1934. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Conrad, Dieter. 2006. Gandhi und der Begriff des Politischen. Staat, Religion und Gewalt (Ed. by Barbara Conrad-Lütt). Paderborn, München: Fink.

Dalton, Dennis. 1993. Mahatma Gandhi: nonviolent power in action. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1927. An autobiography or The story of my experiments with truth. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House.

Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1958-84. The collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, New Delhi: Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

Guha, Ramachandra. 2013. Gandhi before India. London: Penguin Books.

Markovits, Claude. 2003. The un-Gandhian Gandhi: the life and afterlife of the Mahatma. London: Anthem Press.

Parekh, Bhikhu. 1989. Gandhi's political philosophy: a critical examination. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Parel, Anthony J. 2006. Gandhi's philosophy and the quest for harmony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Raghuramaraju, Adluru (ed.) 2006. Debating Gandhi: a reader. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Rothermund, Dietmar. 1997. Mahatma Gandhi: Eine politische Biographie, 2. edition. München: Beck.

Roy, Ramashray. 2006. Gandhi and Ambedkar: a study in contrast. Delhi: Shipra Publ.

Rudolph, Lloyd and Susanne Lloyd. 2006. Postmodern Gandhi and other essays: Gandhi in the world and at home. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis


Letzte Änderung: Do 03.03.2022 15:28